Fantastic Free Legal Research Guide from George Mason

For anyone looking for a comprehensive directory of free legal legal research sites, Debbie Shrager at George Mason has put together a fantastic compilation of Free Legal Research sites. This guide pushes much further than popular free resources (e.g., Findlaw, Justia, Fastcase, and LII). Debbie has included law-specific search engines– and no … Google Scholar is not the only one listed. I’m also impressed by the depth of this guide with respect to federal statutory law, case law, administrative law, secondary resources, and legal news and blogs.

Indeed, this is one of the best curated guides I have come across. Check it out here.


New Research Links to Love

Harvard’s New Free Legal Research Guide: Et Seq. Library Blog.

New Guide to Free Internet Legal Research: John Marshall Law Library.

Updated Guide to Legal Research Apps: UCLA Law Library.

Free Access to Extensive CLE Database: Lawline via The Sociable Lawyer Blog.

“Free Legal Research in a Digital World” Seminar Materials: Stetson Law Library.


The Best Law Library Research Guides and Directories

Most law libraries publish comprehensive guides of legal resources. However, not all guides are created equal. In this post, I have curated a listing of some of the best law library research guides from across the web. If you are researching federal law, any of these directories should do the trick. However, if you’re researching state law, consider visiting the website of a law school located in that state for a more complete listing of state-specific resources. (For example, the UCLA Law Library has a particularly useful directory of California legislative history links and ballot measures. The Law Library of the New York Courts, also included below, delivers a superlative listing of New York-centric resources.)

UCLA School of Law: Online Legal Research Beyond LexisNexis & Westlaw

A fantastic guide of free and low-cost resources of state and federal materials. Particularly notable are the California guides (providing links to bills, ballot measures, regulations, and local government research), legal blog guide, and dictionary and acronym guide.

Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute

More than just a directory, the LII’s website is a free legal information portal, publishing federal case law, code, and regulations. The LII’s directory of state materials is notable; it provides a robust set of links to free materials for each state.

Washburn University School of Law: WashLaw

Excellent index of federal and state materials. This site is particularly helpful in providing a complete listing of links to federal agency websites. Information is easily accessible and is listed alphabetically, by subject, and by geographic location.

Georgetown Law Library: Free and Low Cost Legal Research Directory

Provides links to free secondary source materials (e.g., ABA Journal, Oyez.org, among others), state and federal case law (including nifty coverage tables), constitutions, statutes and codes. One of the most complete listings of free legislative history resources, including bills, hearings, committee reports,  and congressional debates.

University of Washington School of Law: Free Law Online / Internet Legal Resources

In addition to an excellent selection of legislative links, Washington has created a fantastic set of charts that break down the features and limitations of the various free case law research tools. Using these tables, you can learn the date restrictions of the databases, as well as available formats (e.g., txt, PDF, HTML).

The New York Courts Law Library: Free Legal Research Directory

A thorough listing of Wexis alternatives, comprehensive resources, state and federal materials, secondary sources, and helpful descriptions of each resource. The Library has even compiled a directory of Web 2.0 resources.


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